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Pairing beer with red-and-white desserts

Here's how to choose beers to stand up to your festive sweets.
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Photo by Ed Rudolph, food styling by Elizabeth Normoyle

Photo by Ed Rudolph, food styling by Elizabeth Normoyle

The treats of the season come sprinkled, dipped and frosted in our favorite holiday colors. Add a beer for a dessert that’s truly a gift.

Red Velvet Cupcake & Imperial Brown Ale

The hallmark of red velvet is the cake’s light cocoa notes; where those end, this beer’s flavors begin. All of the cupcake’s sugary frosting and cocoa meld into an imperial brown ale’s combo of nuttiness, coffee and peanut-shell dryness.

Peppermint Bark & Coffee Porter
It’s pure indulgence when a silky porter’s chocolate and coffee notes meet the bark’s white and dark chocolate, and the crunchy peppermint sprinkles dance above all of the richness. The pair is like a holiday spiced coffee (with a nip of alcohol to make it even more festive).

Sugar Cookie & Session IPA
A bright, grassy and slightly fruity (think orange and grapefruit) session IPA gets a super sweet kick from a sugar cookie. Sans big bitterness, the buttery bite rides through the sip into a smooth finish.

Strawberries and Cream & Foreign Extra Stout
Light whipped cream and tart strawberry add elegance to a foreign extra stout’s decadent coffee and chocolate notes. The beer’s creamy texture makes the dessert even more rich, while the roast at the end adds a decisive finish.

Berry Cheesecake & Framboise
It isn’t novel to say that this dessert’s raspberry drizzle pairs well with a raspberry-flavored lambic, but it’s what’s happening beneath it that pulls the duo together. The cheesecake’s vanilla and custard notes link with similar vanilla tones in the sip, while the framboise’s acidic snap cleans

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